- Wednesdays-Saturdays 8pm
- Saturday matinees 2pm
- Preview Sept. 20 & 21, 8pm PAY-WHAT-YOU-CAN at the door! ($10 in advance)
- Opening Sept. 22, 8pm
- Talk Back Nights – discussion with Libby Skala after the show: Friday, Sept. 29 and Friday, Oct . 6
Sept. 20 — Oct. 7
by Libby Skala
“I don’t believe I’ve even scratched the surface in terms of what’s inside me.”
Pacific Theatre presents the internationally-acclaimed, one-woman show, LILIA!, written and performed by Libby Skala (photo right). The indomitable Lilia Skala comes to life in her grand-daughter’s deeply personal celebration of a life in the theatre. Buoyed by a resolute faith, the Austrian stage actress flees the Third Reich and finds herself labouring in a New York zipper factory before working her way back to Broadway and the silver screen—eventually to star in the acclaimed Lilies of the Field.
Critics across North America are lauding this one-woman show, which tells the tale of a truly remarkable woman. Lilia Skala refused to be impeded by the political and social pressures she faced in early twentieth-century Europe, despite numerous obstacles: her sex, her ambition, her conservative parents, her inter-faith marriage with a Jewish man during the rise of the Third Reich.
Lilia Skala wanted to be an architect – her hometown University of Vienna refused women, and so she achieved this degree from the University of Dresden, and became the first female architect in Austria. She also wanted to act, despite the then-held view that well brought up women did not become actresses. Actresses were at best considered the mistresses of the aristocracy.
When Hitler invaded Austria, she fled with her Jewish husband, eventually arriving in the United States. There she supported her family by working in a zipper factory until she made her break only two years later in Letters to Lucerne, on Broadway, in 1941. Dedicating her professional life to film and stage, her efforts were formally rewarded in 1963 with an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of the strong-willed Mother Maria in Lilies of the Field, starring alongside Sidney Poitier. Television fanatics of the 1960s may remember her in Green Acres and the ‘80s generation in the movie Flashdance.
The play which bears her name, however, does not focus so much on her professional life, but rather on her personal life. Written and performed by her actual granddaughter, Libby Skala, audiences are invited to share in the most personal aspects of Lilia’s life. Libby is not betraying her grandmother’s secrets. To the contrary, Lilia charged her granddaughter to document the venerable woman’s life: “Write a part for me,” she said. “Because Hollywood writers – they don’t know what to do with an old woman with an accent. They think we love to scrub floors and have ten children. But you could do something interesting. Do it. Write a part for me. DO IT! It’s not too late.”
And so she did. And did it well. Libby Skala has performed LILIA! to sold-out houses in Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Toronto and Winnipeg, and also at the London and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals.
Talk Backs will be held on Friday nights after LILIA! (on Sept. 29 & Oct. 6) to allow our audience the opportunity to discuss the work with the artist herself.
“Libby Skala is magnetic! Marvelous! Cloaked in magic!”
—Bruce Weber, The New York Times
“Absolutely dazzling! Riveting, a brilliant play. Go and see this!”
—Robert Enright, CBC Radio